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Nasa carbon dioxide-hunting telescope reaches orbit

Published on Jul 2, 2014 9:56 PM

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (REUTERS) - An unmanned Delta 2 rocket blasted off from California on Wednesday, carrying a NASA science satellite to survey where carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas tied to climate change, is moving into and out of Earth's atmosphere, a NASA Television broadcast showed.

The 127-foot (39-meter) tall rocket lifted off at 2:56 a.m. PDT (5:56 pm Singapore time) from Vandenberg Air Force Base, located about 240 kms northwest of Los Angeles, and headed south over the Pacific Ocean.

The launch was timed so that NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory, or OCO, would end up at the front of a train of polar-orbiting environmental satellites that cross Earth's equator every afternoon.

A launch attempt on Tuesday was called off because of a problem with the launch pad's water system, needed to mitigate high temperatures and suppress acoustic vibrations of launch. Technicians replaced a failed valve, clearing rocket manufacturer United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, for a second launch attempt.

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